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Wishes tied on strings

Wishes tied on strings

Let us go for a walk, hand in hand, in this temple lined with tombs.

Tombs of the heartfelt desires of the rich and the famous, who lived and died noble, a thousand years ago. No poor man stepped here, because to light a lantern in this temple, you needed to have a family crest, and no poor man had a surname, leave alone a title.

They still light all these lanterns once a year, attracting long-dead desires like ghost moths to the flames, and greedy eyes eager for things beyond reach.

Tombs of the heartfelt desires

Tombs of the heartfelt desires

No one buys lanterns anymore, says the girl at the temple stall, they’re too expensive, cost millions of Yen. The clips in her held silver elements tinkle with each nod of her head. Buy one of these papers and tie it to the strings hanging from the branches of this tree, with your wishes. People believe they come true.

But next year, you say, the priests will sweep them away, tying new strings, for new wishes tied on new pieces of paper, to be swept away again. And look how bare the tree stands in winter.

But that has always been the poor man’s way, I say, and what difference between a lantern of metal or stone and a piece of paper? It is the weight of the wish that matters– these lanterns may not fly. Maybe this paper will.

We tie our wishes to the tree. We walk out of the red-colored temple gates, to be greeted by snowflakes. You smile at the white notes of blessings that flurry and fall, try to capture them on your tongue.

I feel light. We walk in the snow, hand in hand, burdened no longer by the weight of wishes.

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A to Z Blogging Challenge in April

A to Z Blogging Challenge in April

This was a piece of fiction based on  picture prompts (from the Kasuga-Taisha Shrine in Nara, Japan)–something I hope to create on a daily basis during the month of April for the A to Z challenge, which basically requires 26 posts in 26 days based on 26 letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter during the month of April, with Sundays off for good behavior.

So I’m asking you, my blogging audience, to challenge me with an interesting picture that you would like me to write on, and drop me story starters, each sentence/phrase beginning with a different letter (i.e. the first word of the starter must start with a different letter, from A to Z).  You can do this in the comments on this post. I’ll keep sending out this call till I have 26 pictures and 26 prompts that really challenge me!  The 26 posts will be featured on Amlokiblogs, my other writing blog.

Of course, when I post each prompt during April, I’ll link to you and explain why I chose it. You may also mail me the pictures and story prompts at atozstories at gmail dot com. You need not be participating in the A to Z Challenge to challenge me with either a story starter, or a picture, or both. The more the merrier! Last year I had asked for word prompts, and I got loads to choose from! This year, I’m taking it a step further.
Sign up for the challenge, (you know you want to!) and if you do, make sure you follow us on FaceBook and Twitter, and read The #atozchallenge Daily for updates!
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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